FORMER Lyme Regis resident Minnie Churchill was one of the dignitaries at the Royal British Legion’s Remembrance parade and service at The Cenotaph in Whitehall yesterday (Sunday).
Minnie, a former Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, took part in the ceremony, much scaled down due to lockdown restrictions, and laid a wreath as honorary president of the Air Transport Auxiliary Association (ATAA).
She was among members of the Royal Family, politicians, service organisations and Commonwealth leaders who laid wreaths at The Cenotaph.
The Air Transport Auxiliary, founded at the outbreak of World War II, was a civilian organisation which made an enormous contribution to victory by taking over from service pilots the task of ferrying RAF and RN warplanes between factories, maintenance units and front-line squadrons.
During the war, 1,250 men and women from 25 countries ferried a total of 309,000 aircraft of 147 different types, without radios, with no instrument flying instruction and at the mercy of the British weather. Often they were presented with a type of plane they had never seen before.
Minnie was the granddaughter-in-law of the late Sir Winston and Lady Churchill, formerly married to the Prime Minister’s grandson, also called Winston, who was a Member of Parliament for 25 years.
With her partner, Simon Bird, she lived at Ware House, one of Lyme’s most grand homes, where they hosted many local events. During her time in the town they made many friends and supported numerous community events, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
She also opened her garden on several occasions for popular outdoor concerts in aid of the organ appeal at St Michael’s Parish Church.
Minnie Churchill is the Director of Churchill Heritage and co-author, with art historian David Coombs, of ‘Sir Winston Churchill His Life and His Paintings’.
Sally Holman was the Mayor of Lyme Regis during the time Minnie and Simon were in Lyme Regis.
She told LymeOnline: “It was lovely to see Minnie laying the wreath at such an important event. She was a great friend of Lyme Regis and couldn’t do enough for the town, joining in all the civic occasions. She has been greatly missed.”